Watching your kids grow into well-rounded adults is a thing of joy and fulfillment. And one of the best ways to ensure this is by laying a solid educational foundation for them. While most parents and guardians recognize this, some still don’t appreciate the place of recreation in child education and development.
Thankfully, there are now hundreds, even thousands of education-focused apps for iOS and Android devices. However, not all of them are recreation inclined or approved by experts, but not to worry. In this article, you’ll find six of the best expert-approved educational and recreational apps for your children under five.
1. Sesame Street Alphabet Kitchen
The popular and iconic Sesame Street is a longtime favorite for children and adults alike. This PBS program is loads of fun with tons of stuff to learn and do. Many childhood stories will be incomplete without the mention of Sesame Street characters like Big Bird, Elmo, Grover, Oscar the Grouch, and Bert and Ernie, among others.
You can now help your children experience some of that Sesame Street goodness on an iOS or Android device with the Sesame Street Alphabet Kitchen app. This fun educational app is suitable for your under-fives. It helps to strike a critical balance between work and play for young children. They’ll love it as much as these app-controlled LEGO sets.
This is a lite version of the Sesame Street Alphabet Kitchen with more than 10 million downloads and counting. It is a vocabulary-building app designed to equip your kids with early literacy skills using letter sounds to create words inside Elmo’s and Cookie Monster’s alphabet kitchen. It is centered around cookies, and boy, do children love cookies!
Download: Sesame Street Alphabet Kitchen for Android (Free, in-app purchases available) | iOS ($2.99)
2. PJ Masks: Hero Academy
My little nephews absolutely love PJ Masks and so do many other children across the world, yours likely included. They look forward to their daily dose of Amaya, Greg, and Connor, watching them transform into superheroes, chase and fight villains, and save the day, every other day.
Even after PJ Masks airs on TV, you can still get the PJ Masks: Hero Academy app for your children on-demand via the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The Hero Academy app is one of several other PJ Masks-themed games to entertain your little angels after a long day of reading and learning.
It teaches fundamental STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) concepts. It does this by allowing your children to practice coding basics, create racetracks, dodge obstacles, defeat the night-time baddies, and solve problems and puzzles along the way. This app perfectly blends learning and play for kids aged four and above.
Download: PJ Masks: Hero Academy for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
3. ABC Kids – Tracing & Phonics
Launched in September 1991, ABC Kids is a staple of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation focused on child-friendly television programming. These days, you can easily access ABC Kids’ children-focused content via its family of Android and iOS apps available globally for free.
As far as tracing and phonics go, the ABC Kids app is one of the best there is. It features fun phonics sounds from A to Z, teaching your 2+ year-olds how to trace and identify letters, and differentiate between upper and lowercase letters. It also helps them to identify and associate objects with pictures.
This fun teacher-approved, child-friendly app is packed full of educational gameplay activities guaranteed to excite and educate your wards. They’re also safe, interactive, and inspirational. What’s more, it’s free, full-featured, and does not contain ads. Get the app today and help your kids ace tracing and phonics.
Download: ABC Kids – Tracing & Phonics for Android | iOS (Free)
4. Color Kids: Coloring Games
Most kids are easily attracted to bright and shiny objects. In fact, some have the shiny object syndrome, which to be fair to them, also affects some grown-up adults. This means that kids love colorful objects. And even if yours doesn’t, coloring games and book apps are a fun way to introduce them to the wonderful world of colors.
With more than 10 million downloads, the Color Kids: Coloring Games app is one of the best coloring apps on the Google Play Store. This teacher-approved app is suitable for your pre-schoolers. It teaches them key object-matching and color-recognition skills that allow them to better experience and understand the colorful world we live in.
Color Kids: Coloring Games helps your children to identify shapes, learn colors through painting, create colorful shapes, and match similar colors. They also get to use these learned skills to solve problems and puzzles, further reinforcing their color recognition and shape-matching skills.
Download: Color Kids: Coloring Games for Android (Free)
5. Piano Kids – Music & Songs
Good music, especially good mood music, produces quite a calming effect on the listener, regardless of whether they’re adults or children. In fact, pregnant mothers can attest to the fact that fetuses become sound-aware at an early age. Music and story apps also help children fall asleep faster. It is therefore important that you introduce your little jewels to sound music.
And one of the best ways to do that easily and for free is via the super popular Music & Songs app. It currently boasts more than 100 million downloads. This teacher-approved app is a fun music box designed to equip kids and parents alike with basic music skills.
It features bright, colorful, and lettered piano keys (and other instruments) that not only attract your kid’s attention but also helps them to easily associate keys with scales. They also get to play fun child-friendly songs with animations and games to boot. It’s a great head start for both musically inclined and non-musically inclined kids.
Download: Piano Kids – Music & Songs for Android (Free, in-app purchases available)
6. Thomas & Friends: Go Go Thomas
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, they say. This applies to kids and adults alike. While reading and learning may be fun to the bibliophile, it is work for some others, children inclusive. To make learning more effective, educationists incorporate breaks, so the mind can (you guessed it) take a break.
Speaking of breaks, one of the best break time activities for your children is to play the Go Go Thomas video game. They can join Thomas and his friends and go riding on amazing, fun-filled, twisty rollercoasters along splashy watersides. These road adventures allow them to ride as their favorite engines while racing against others.
Children can challenge their friends or siblings, collect and use speed boosters to puff even faster, perform epic stunts, and explore exciting fun-filled tracks that are sure to engage and animate their imaginations. These fun games are essential apps for your kids’ health and wellness, and not just their education.
Download: Thomas & Friends: Go Go Thomas for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
Let Them Play and Learn
Learning and play are intertwined. By gamifying education, you’ll make it easier for your growing children to approach, interact with, and embrace learning. This can set them up for a much better life with far more opportunities than uneducated children. If you want a better future for your kids, this is a no-brainer.
Now, more than ever before, these and other educational and recreational apps are making child education more accessible across the board. And they’re free. Take advantage of these apps and help your children maximize their screen time with future-proof and beneficial content.